tagInterracial LoveDevonny Ch. 10

Devonny Ch. 10


Devonny inhaled sharply, bracing herself as she grasped the bedpost.

"Now hold that breath," Moira urged as she jerked the corset stays tight.

Devonny winced. "Am I supposed to be able to breathe?" she wheezed.

"No," Moira answered.

When she had finished, Devonny groaned. She leaned one way and then the other, testing the stiffness of the garment.

Moira helped Devonny dress carefully in layers of undergarments. Devonny fidgeted in the numerous heavy petticoats, layers of underclothes, metal hoops, and the tight corset worn under the pointed whale bone bodice. She shot Moira a beleaguered expression. "Is all this really quite necessary? I feel about as agile as a warship being tugged into harbor."

Moira merely smiled and shook her head fondly. "It will be worth it, dearie. Not to worry."

Devonny stared at herself critically in the full length mirror. Her hair had been artfully coiffed, allowing dark curls to frame her face and neck, held in place by pearl tipped pins. The corset had nipped her waist into seemingly unnatural smallness.

By the time Moira had slipped the lavender silk gown over her head and buttoned up the back of the gown, Devonny's heart was racing, the corset feeling unbearably constricting.

Moira gently turned the girl to face her, gently taking her shoulders in her hands. "Are you alright, child?" The girl looked pale and fretful.

"I don't know if I can do this." She pressed a hand to her cinched waist.

"Oh sweetheart," Moira pressed her hands to Devonny's cool cheeks. "Of course you can. You look absolutely lovely and Prince and Miss Elizabeth will be by your side. You have nothing to worry about." She gave Devonny's cheek a reassuring pat. "You will be adored, darling."

Devonny gave her a weak smile in return. The soft knock at the door pulled her out of her thoughts. "Yes?"

Eli peeked his head around the door, his face lighting when he saw her. He knew she would be dazzling but he was slightly unprepared for the striking vision standing before him. Moira stepped aside to allow him a better view.

The lavender silk gown was molded to her upper body, flaring out over the large hoop skirt. Her shoulders and decollage were bare. Her deep golden brown shoulders were lovely. Her breasts were sumptuously swelling against the neckline. Her face was bare and open with the exception of a few sweetly alluring curls framing her brow and the nape of her neck. Pearl baubles hung from her ear lobes and a multi-strand pearl choker graced her delicate throat.

She smiled at him self-consciously as he stepped into the room. Her fingers fluttered nervously to her the pearls at her neck, as she mistook his silence for censure. "It's too much isn't it? I knew it was too much." She reached to undo the clasp but Eli was there, gently taking her wrists in his hands and pulling them away.

"No," he soothed, his eyes lit with admiration. "No, you look exquisite. Beautiful." He winked at Moira. "But I think you're missing something." He watched Devonny's lovely brow furrow quizzically.

"Something else?"

He grinned, taking the small box from beneath his elbow that she had not noticed. Her honey colored gaze flew to meet his. "Oh, Eli. I can't..."

Smiling, Eli tugged at the robin's egg blue ribbon securing the box and opened the lid. Upon the plush white satin interior was a mask. It was beautifully made and painted in silver, gold and lavender with a small amethyst gemstone between the brows.

"Oh goodness, Eli," she breathed. "It's beautiful."

"Did you think I had forgotten?" Eli teased and handed the box to Moira as he lifted out the mask. "May I?"

Devonny nodded.

Eli moved behind her and set the mask upon her. The silk lavender ribbons were trimmed with silver and hung alluringly down her back nearly to her waist. He allowed the back of his fingertips to trail lightly down the row of tiny fabric-covered buttons tracing her spine. She turned to him smiling. .

The mask covered only the top half of her face, revealing only the golden hue of her cheeks, her lush beautiful mouth, and the fine delicate line of her jaw. Her hypnotic amber gaze twinkled.

"A goddess," he praised.

Moira was drawing back the curtains. "Prince is out back, dearie. I think it's time for you to be on your way."

Devonny drew in a shaky breath, her heart thumping. But Eli was there, taking her shoulders in his hands. He met her gaze steadily. "You will be wonderful, understand?"

She nodded mutely.

He took her chin between his thumb and forefinger. "Understand?" he prompted.

"Yes, Eli," she murmured softly.

When he would have withdrawn, Devonny caught his hand and brought his knuckles to her lips, pressing a kiss there. Her lovely gaze was wet with tears. "Thank you, Eli. For everything."

Eli cupped her face, brushing his thumb over her lips. He smiled faintly, "Go."

Moira draped a gossamer shawl around her shoulders and handed her the matching reticule and fan. She kissed Devonny on both cheeks. "Go now, love."

The walk down the hall seemed endless and the walk down the rear stairs an eternity.

At the bottom she stopped short. Gabriel Davenport was standing in the kitchen. He'd stopped mid-stride in his pacing when he saw her.

"Devonny," he breathed, all other words—even those he had so carefully planned—leaving his mind.

His heart constricted at the sight of her. The mask she wore both concealed and enhanced her beauty, accentuating the extraordinary color of her eyes and the incredible lushness of her mouth.

He'd never seen her shoulders or her breasts The sight of them now was nearly his undoing. Her delicate brown shoulders were smooth and flawless. He wanted to press his lips against her lovely collar bone. Her breasts were pressed against the neckline of her lavender gown, full round and beautiful.

He cleared his throat and looked at her soberly. "Eli has wonderful taste."

She stared at him from behind the mask but said nothing.

He came to stand in front of her, his legs brushing against her skirts. "You look beautiful, Devonny."

Her expression was unreadable behind the mask. "Thank you," she said softly.

"I have something for you," he said gesturing to a small cherry wood box upon the table.

Her eyes met his questioningly.

"Please—" he stepped aside.

Devonny glanced at him uncertainly before unlatching the brass lock and lifting the lid. Gasping she took an involuntary step back but Gabriel's hand spanning the small of her back halted her. "Devonny, please."

"Gabriel, I can't—"

"Take it." His stern tone left no room for argument on her part. He softened his tone. "Please."

Nestled in the deep blue velvet of the box was a small pistol with a mother of pearl inlayed handle.

Gabriel looked at her intently when she made no move to pick up the weapon. "Devonny, you're leaving our property. Prince has assured me that you will be well looked after but Rochard..." he paused. "Rochard is cunning." He frowned. "Look, I won't know a moment of peace while you're gone unless I know you have some means of protecting yourself. Please."

Devonny had never heard that note in his voice before. He was near pleading with her.

She gingerly picked up the gun. It was surprisingly weighty for its small size.

"It's loaded," he said quietly. He held up a small velvet bag. "There's extra ammunition in here."

Devonny took it without word and dropped it into her reticule along with the pistol.

Gabriel shifted, looking ill at ease. "I know it's not anything beautiful like the things that Gabriel has given you but—"

She turned to him. "Thank you, Gabriel. You wish me to be safe. That means very much to me."

Gabriel nodded.

"Prince is probably waiting for me," she said quietly.

"Of course," Gabriel smiled tightly as she brushed by him.

She paused in the doorway, feeling his eyes on her. "Thank you, Gabriel, truly," she said a hint of a smile tugging at her lips. "I don't want to think...." Her voice trailed off. "I don't want you to think that I don't appreciate..."

"Goodbye, Devonny."

She smiled ruefully. "Goodbye, Gabriel."

She stepped out the door. He didn't know how long he stood there. She would return in the morning but she was gone. Tonight was just the beginning of her new life that would take her away from him.

He shook himself from his thoughts. He had his own life to attend to and a future to prepare for.


Devonny removed her mask as the carriage rolled on, feeling slightly suffocated. She and Prince had taken his phaeton carriage to the Madison residence where they climbed into the Madison's Brougham carriage for the remainder of their journey. Elizabeth's parents had departed earlier and had likely already arrived at their destination.

Elizabeth was stunning in a buttery yellow gown and golden mask. She chatted excitedly about this waltz, that eligible bachelor, and whose mother was near mad with the stress of finding a match for their precious daughter. Prince watched her, unable to contain a doting smile.

Elizabeth sat next to Devonny in the elegant interior of the carriage. Prince, across from them looked unbelievably dashing and elegant. He carried an ivory handled walking stick across his knees and on the seat beside him was a satin top hat.

Devonny tried vainly to listen to Elizabeth but her thoughts were getting in the way. What on earth was she doing? She was going to make overtures into the upper crust of the gen du couleur, lie through her teeth and pretend as though she belonged.

She felt oddly bare in the in the revealing gown with the neckline that Madam Baskett had lowered an inch despite all protests.

She toyed fitfully with the buttons on her elbow length gloves. Prince caught her gaze and gave her an encouraging smile.

The driver turned the carriage and it passed between two tall stone pillars and joined a line of carriages progressing slowly down the drive lit with lanterns and lined with lawson cyprus trees.

When the carriage pulled to a stop in front of the manor house, the footman opened the door. Prince got out first and turned to hand Elizabeth down from the carriage. He then turned back to Devonny and offered his hand, watching her expectantly. Ducking her head, she slipped her fingers into Prince's palm. He gave her fingers a warm squeeze.

Careful not to trip over the hem of her gown, yet not reveal a hint of ankle, Devonny stepped out of the carriage onto the deep blue carpet runner leading beyond the wide flung doors of the large manor house.

Devonny suppressed a gasp of awe as she gazed up. The home was not so large as Kedleston by any means but it was no less breathtaking—a bit over the top—but glorious to look at. Classical pediments jutted from the mansard roofs and spires and gables jostled for attention. The whole was mounted by a copula.

If the outside of the home was a study in elegance, the interior was not anti-climactic in the least. Devonny followed Prince and Elizabeth through the porta-cochere and into the two-storey gallery of the central hall which had been furnished as a grand salon.

Devonny followed Prince and Elizabeth who were arm and arm to greet their hosts who stood just inside greeting the procession of their guests into the house.

Their hosts were much younger than she had expected for a highly successful merchant and his wife. Mr. West was light skinned with an thin immaculate mustache and dark glittering eyes that held a definite hint of mischief. His young wife with her rounded pregnant belly was lovely. Their smiles were genuine and radiant, soothing a fraction of her anxiety.

Prince drew her forward with a smile. "Kenneth, this is my sister Devonny. "

Devonny dipped perfect curtsey and smiled graciously.

"Miss Devonny," Mr. West greeted her warmly. "We've heard so much about you from Prince. And this is my wife, Pauline."

Pauline grasped her hands, beaming. "For shame," she chided. "Hiding such a face in a convent all those years. We've been desperately in need of some new blood around here and you are sure to be just the thing to stir up a bit of excitement."

"Pauline..." her husband cautioned but with naught but admiration in his gaze.

Pauline smiled. "Welcome to our home, darling."

Devonny returned the woman's smile, ducking her head demurely in thanks.

With an excited giggle, Elizabeth threaded her arm through Devonny's and led her into the house.


Kedleston Hall...

Gabriel and Elijah stood side by side welcoming their guests to Kedleston. It was always a tedious affair, lengthened by the endeavors of many a young woman to make a lasting impression on one or both of the Davenport men.

The evening progressed as evenings had in the past. Gabriel did his duty as a host. He chatted, charmed and plucked wallflowers from their seats for a dance. But he found it difficult to muster the enthusiasm to perform those duties that he once performed with such finesse.

Try as he might, he was unable to distract himself from thoughts of Devonny. He was certain that she was finding no shortage of partners to fill her dance card. Perhaps some young swain would even attempt to break protocol and dance with her more than once. Would some dashing young man catch her eye? Was she lost to him already?

'She was never yours,' he reminded himself as he absently moved through the dance steps, paying little mind to the young woman gazing up at him with open awe and adoration.

When the music ended, he led his dance partner back to her seat before briskly excusing himself and stalking from the ballroom.

Gabriel closed himself in his study amid the shocked looks of is guests. Once inside he turned abruptly, intending to return but he halted, bracing his hands upon the sturdy oak door. He needed a moment.

It was near unbearable; to be surrounded by women fair clamoring for his attention when the one woman he wanted more than his next breath could never be his and was likely at this very moment in the presence of her future husband.

He stalked to the liquor cabinet and poured himself a snifter of scotch, downing it in one gulp.

Steeling himself and carefully schooling his features, he yanked the door open to return to the parts only to come face to face with Abigail Harding.

"Gabriel," the lovely young blonde woman smiled coyly, and laying her hand against his chest she lightly pushed him back into the study.

"Abigail—" Gabriel blurted shocked as she slipped inside and closed the door behind her.

"Shhh..." she laid her fingertips upon his lips. "I simply came to cheer you up. You looked so unhappy dancing with plain boring Miss Morrison."

Gabriel resisted the urge to glare at her and toss her out. He kept his expression bland. "You shouldn't be here Abigail. It isn't proper."

Abigail slinked forward with a swish of skirts. "I'm not concerned with proper at the moment." She slid her arms around his shoulders. "I just want to be close to you." Standing on her tiptoes, she pressed her lips against his.

Astonishment kept his lips pliant beneath hers. She smiled in satisfaction when she pulled back and saw the look of shock on his face. She traced her fingertips over his chest. "I'll see you back in there." She glanced at him over her shoulder as she made to leave. "I've kept room on my dance card for you."

She was gone with a soft click of the door.

Groaning, Gabriel, squeezed the bridge of his nose in an attempt to stave off the impending headache.

And then there was Abigail; Abigail who before Devonny, had been under the distinct impression that one day in the not too distant future she would be his wife.

But Gabriel could hardly imagine making any woman in this set his wife. Not when he could barely summon a smile in their presence. Not that he smiled much in Devonny's presence. With her spent the majority of his energy reigning in his emotions. It wasn't conducive to smiling.

Growling, he raked a rough hand through his dark hair only to carefully smooth the dark strands back into place. He jerked his jacket lapels straight, drained another tumbler of the amber liquid and left to rejoin his guests.

Elijah wrenched his attention from the raven-haired beauty on his arm to observe Gabriel returning to the ballroom. He watched his brother stop short of the entryway, square his shoulders, inhale deeply and then smiling he entered and struck up a conversation with the Duke of Devonshire.

Gabriel smiled, captivated and laughed. To anyone but his brother, he looked the picture of gallant charm. But to Elijah, his brother looked a bit absent behind the eyes. He had little doubt what had Gabriel so distracted.


Devonny quietly slipped outside through the french doors. She needed just a moment to herself.

She'd not had the chance to sit and catch her breath since they'd arrived nor pause for a moment. Everyone had been perfectly friendly and welcoming. Of course, women whispered behind white gloves and fine-looking fans, shooting her appraising looks and tittering in speculation.

Her myriad of dance partners ranged from the shy and reserved to the boldly flirtatious. Her cheeks felt stiff and twitched from holding a smile.

The night had grown cool and the faint scent of tobacco smoke hovered in the air. She tugged her thin shawl tighter around her shoulders for its minimal warmth.


Devonny started at the deep drawling baritone sounding from the darkness. Startled, her hands fumbled with her reticule.

"Easy, Miss Adams," he soothed. A tall cinnamon skinned man stepped from the shadows.

Devonny warily studied the man who was studying her. He was perhaps a few years older than herself and stood a few inches taller.

He plucked the cheroot from between his lips and flicked it away. Waving away the wisps of smoke hanging in the night air, he grinned at her disarmingly.

He was perhaps a few years older than her and stood a few inches taller. His dark hair was parted on one side and slicked back from his face. He was undeniably handsome with a playful glint in his dark eyes. A black mask scrawled with gold as pushed up on top of his head.

"Theodore Edmondson," he extended his hand. "But you may call me Teddy. Most everyone does."

Devonny tentatively slipped her hand into his and pushed up her mask. "Devonny Adams," she said smoothly.

He grinned. "Ah, sister to his highness, freed from the nunnery."

Devonny returned his smile at his play on words. "So you know my brother?"

Teddy nodded and leaned against the stone rail of the veranda, crossing his legs at the ankle. "Of course. Everyone does. He captured the heart of one of our most sought after young ladies and has made quite a name for himself with his new stables not too far from here. I bought a fine Arabian from him just a few weeks ago."

He tilted his head, seeming to examine her face in the light from the windows. "And you," he mused. "You must be causing quite a stir. I can see why you wished to make a run for it."

Devonny lifted a brow, her lips twisting in amusement. "And you? What's your excuse?"

He lifted his shoulders in a shrug. "My father wishes me to marry and marry soon. Every girl in there is aware of it, and what's worse is that their mothers are aware of it." He grimaced and looked at her warily. "I suppose you're here for the same purpose. To make a match?"

Devonny sighed. "So I'm told but..." her voice trailed off as she realized she was talking to a complete stranger.

He raised his brows with interest. "But?"

Devonny lifted her shoulders and smiled tentatively. "It's all very grand and beautiful. But what of love?"

Teddy let out a bark of laughter. "Love! Ha!" He couldn't contain the smile that spread over his face. "Oh, you are an innocent." She frowned and he quickly rushed on. "I say that with the utmost admiration. It's quite refreshing." He chuckled. "You see, a love match like your brother and Miss Elizabeth is rare. Most matches are made between parents looking to enhance their wealth and prestige with little regard to what their child might wish." Bitterness tinged his words and she felt truly sorry for him at the flicker of misery on his face.

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